in conjunction with paragraph 49 of the NPPF provided for a presumption or “tilted balance” in favour of granting planning permission for the development, which the Inspector refusing planning permission had wrongly found to have been displaced. The draft revised NPPF published in March 2018 takes this presumption further. It would incorporate via paragraphs 11.d and 75 a new Housing Delivery Test, as part of the trigger for the presumption in favour of development. These revisions to the NPPF gave effect to the commitments made in the Housing White Paper “to ensure that action is taken” to boost housing supply. However, it is questionable whether boosting housing supply through the private sector will meet the particular needs of “ordinary working class people who are struggling to get by”. The draft revised NPPF proposes that, on major housing development sites, at least 10% of the housing should be for affordable home ownership, subject to some exceptions. The requirement for developers to include affordable housing within housing developments is usually imposed by local authorities via planning obligations entered into under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. In the ordinary way, private sector developers will look to maximise profits and only deliver non-market housing when under an enforceable obligation to do so. Affordable housing is currently defined in Annex 2 of the NPPF as rented at no more than 80% of market rent. In many areas, such rent levels are unaffordable for “ordinary working class people”, let alone those reliant on housing benefit.¹ By contrast, social rents (including council rents), are commonly set at around 50% of market levels. Against the background of a 52% reduction in the social housing stock over the previous 35 years,² social rented now accounts for just 3% of new supply. In 2015/16 in England only 6,550 new social rent homes were completed. Within the same year, RTB sales across council and housing association stock were in excess of 16,000. The White Paper did not specifically address this unmet need, notwithstanding plans to extend the RTB to the generality of housing association tenancies via the so-called Voluntary Right to Buy, to be funded by the enforced sale of higher value council houses, under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. There is no sign of the overall trend of a reduction in the number of houses let at social rents being reversed. Local housing companies Local authorities have for a number of years enjoyed the power to provide housing through companies, under section 95 of the Local Government Act 2003 and, more recently, under the general power of competence conferred by section 1 of the Localism Act 2011. The Elphicke-House Report embraced the concept of local housing delivery organisations and at paragraph 7.24 recommended that councils consider setting them up. Paragraph 7.2.1 of the report contained a description of three such models: (i) a wholly owned company funded by the council, (ii) an investment partnership, with funding provided by a developer and the council providing land and (iii) an operating lease granted by the council to a registered provider. Relevant case studies were set out at Appendix 5. Indeed, at paragraph 4.2.4 the report suggested that innovative finance models, using local housing delivery vehicles, might be the answer to the cap on local authorities’ borrowing capacity. The government’s response was unenthusiastic in relation to the use of local housing companies (“LHCs”) to deliver any form of social housing. In a written statement to Parliament made on 20 March 2015 (HCWS441), the Minister of State for Housing and Planning said this: “It is important that new council tenants should have access to the Right to Buy, and that new homes should not be built by councils which are excluded from the Right to Buy. In order to be eligible, local authority tenants need to have a secure tenancy. All forms of secure council tenancies are subject to the Right to Buy, including new flexible tenancies, regardless of whether they are accounted for in the local authority’s Housing Revenue Account or the General Fund. A number of local authorities have established local housing companies to help deliver local housing solutions. The Government recognises the benefits that public private partnerships can ¹ For a detailed analysis of housing affordability for those on low incomes, see the Institute for Public Policy Research paper Priced Out? published in November 2017. ² Pearce & Vine, Quantifying residualisation: the changing nature of social housing in the UK, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 2014 Against the background of a 52% reduction in the social housing stock over the previous 35 years, social rented now accounts for just 3% of new supply. Local Government Lawyer Insight December 2018 Local Government Lawyer Insight December 2018 29 Insight